One of the things I do when I’m not chasing kids or teaching women’s studies is German-to-English translation work. I have a few hard limits – I don’t do literary or legal stuff – but otherwise I’m pretty shameless about what I’ll try. I’ve done technical and marketing projects as well as more scholarly material. And years ago I helped with the Porsche customer magazine, with lots of spousal help on the hardcore automotive concepts.
Usually the translator is invisible if not downright inglorious. I mean inglorious in the sense of “obscure,” not “disgraceful,” though we’ve all seen translations that are downright embarrassing. User instructions are another hard limit of mine, so that trainwreck of a manual that came with your DVD player? I’m innocent.
I think some authors prefer to give the impression that their work is wholly their own. But I just got a copy of a book I worked on last summer, and my name is actually in it! Okay, it’s on the last page, and since I’m listed as being in “Athens” I could be mistaken as being Greek. (A very, very pale Greek.) But my name is spelled right, thanks to my awesome friend who did a beautiful job on the copyediting. And I’m included even though I got sucked into the project at the last minute after some unspecified glitch with another translator. I’m tickled pink!
The book – Asia: Changing the World – also has a sexy cover. You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s got a translucent gray-green jacket that gives you a flirtatious peek at the underlying Asian symbols and characters. Plus, the book was free, and I’m still enough of a grad student at heart to be happy about free books.